Ontario rubric

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The Ontario rubric is a rubric system used to mark students in the Ontario provincal school system.

The Ontario rubric is typically a chart with five columns. The first defines the category that is being evaluated, and the other four show levels 1 through 4. Level 1 is 50%–60%, Level 2 is 60%–70%, Level 3 is 70%–80%, and Level 4 is 80%–100%. Some teachers represent a perfect mark by suffixing a plus sign to the 4 ("Level 4+"). The Ontario rubric system is used more or less throughout high schools and elementary schools in Ontario.

Level [1] Percent
4+ 95% - 100%
4 87% - 94%
4- 80% - 86%
3+ 77% - 79%
3 73% - 76%
3- 70% - 72%
2+ 65% - 69%
2 63% - 64%
2- 60% - 62%
1+ 57% - 59%
1 53% - 56%
1- 50% - 52%
R 0% - 49%

The rows are typically broken into four strands:

  • Knowledge/Understanding
  • Thinking/Inquiry
  • Application
  • Communication

In the elementary schools they are also sometimes organized into sections for projects, for example:

  • Appearance/ Neatness
  • Organization
  • Information and Understanding
  • General Appeal

Rubrics are used for marking. Their purpose is for a more objective marking process when marking subjective items. i.e. an essay, piece of artwork, tech project, or any project with multiple components i.e. computer program. They also aim to avoid student/teacher confusion. Rubrics provide a breakdown of these four strands. These strands are not weighted evenly. For example If a student receives a low mark in only one of the rows, their overall grade could be drastically reduced if that strand is weighted heavier than the others. Similarly, if one receives a low mark in a strand that is not weighed heavily, it can have little effect on their mark.

The Ontario Rubric appears to be evolving into something known as a "competency profile". Competency profiles are seen as being more user-friendly for teachers and students than the traditional text-based list of criteria.


Some criticize the Ontario rubric as they feel a student is no longer being assessed based solely on his or her ability to comprehend and utilize the learned material, but is instead being marked on the processes used. They also feel that this limits creativity and growth on the part of the student as he/she becomes used to completing work within the confines of the rubric fearing that creativity will potentially result in a loss of marks. Instead others just construct rubrics that do not constrict creativity.